The properties of warm dark matter haloes
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Monthly notices of the Royal Astronomical Society. - Oxford
, p. 300-317
University of Antwerp
Well-motivated elementary particle candidates for the dark matter, such as the sterile neutrino, behave as warm dark matter (WDM). For particle masses of the order of a keV, free streaming produces a cutoff in the linear fluctuation power spectrum at a scale corresponding to dwarf galaxies. We investigate the abundance and structure of WDM haloes and subhaloes on these scales using high resolution cosmological N-body simulations of galactic haloes of mass similar to the Milky Way's. On scales larger than the free-streaming cutoff, the initial conditions have the same power spectrum and phases as one of the cold dark matter (CDM) haloes previously simulated by Springel et al. as part of the Virgo consortium Aquarius project. We have simulated four haloes with WDM particle masses in the range 1.5-2.3 keV and, for one case, we have carried out further simulations at varying resolution. N-body simulations in which the power spectrum cutoff is resolved are known to undergo artificial fragmentation in filaments producing spurious clumps which, for small masses (<10(7) M-circle dot in our case) outnumber genuine haloes. We have developed a robust algorithm to identify these spurious objects and remove them from our halo catalogues. We find that the WDM subhalo mass function is suppressed by well over an order magnitude relative to the CDM case for masses < 10(9) M-circle dot. Requiring that there should be at least as many subhaloes as there are observed satellites in the Milky Way leads to a conservative lower limit to the (thermal equivalent) WDM particle mass of similar to 1.5 keV. WDM haloes and subhaloes have cuspy density distributions that are well described by Navarro-Frenk-White or Einasto profiles. Their central densities are lower for lower WDM particle masses and none of the models we have considered suffering from the 'too big to fail' problem recently highlighted by Boylan-Kolchin et al.